by Shaun Terry

A beautiful cocoon awaits me
Composed of four thousand layers of the softest silk
Warm and perfectly-shapen


And I could live there


It had been waiting for me
Beneath an eagle’s smile
In a small, dilapidated cemetery
My heels sinking into a grave
For some great lover
I ate a mushroom/tomato/avocado sandwich
And a glowing neon sign
The size of an African elephant
Hung from trees’ branches
To inform me that I had a home where I could sleep and I could live and I would be protected and I would be warm and happy and
I would never have to fear anything or anyone




My life could be a model of perfection
Envied by our great heroes in Elysium
And children from tiny, impoverished isles would trek
To admire
Books would be written
Stories told by elders
The greatest composers would write
The beautifulest melodies ever conceived


I climbed in
I felt its warmth, its love, its understanding, its caring
It was made
For me


I was uncomfortable with its goodness
What if it were taken from me?
It felt perfect
And I could just stay there


We felt each other
Our shapes changed so we fit
Into one another
And I smiled
I smiled like mine was the first smile
And then, suddenly, inexplicably, I shrugged


What if the children grew envious and chopped us down?
What if the cocoon and I stopped living in harmony?
What if I were rejected?


The cocoon was all that I wanted
We were absolutely connected
The cocoon reciprocated my adoration


I fell asleep
And after days of tiny, unnoticed tremors
The cocoon and I experienced a tiny disconnection
It no longer fit me quite
Surely, it would be fine


But why had I done this?


Anxiety captured me
I flinched
My last digit- suddenly stuck
The walls of my cocoon had been treacherously breached
I removed my pinky


The cocoon
Dried, flaked


We each grew uncomfortable
It had selflessly given to me a great home
It had preserved itself
But I had damaged the cocoon


In sudden pain and confusion
The cocoon was lifeless


What had I done?
What had I DONE?

Our salvation, our bliss
Damaged, corrupted
What now?


There could be no other cocoon
There couldn’t ever be another cocoon, and if there was
Nothing could be like this cocoon
We were to be a deserved legend
We were the envy of humpback whales and jellyfish and kingfishers and snow leopards and stars and quarks and photons and nebulae
And now?


My tears filled the cocoon
Widening the puncture
I floated to the top of the cocoon to find some air to breathe
I began to choke, and the cocoon pulled itself apart at its top, to assist me
So I breathed more slowly, so as to not burden the cocoon
The cocoon was always gracious, generous, loving, and kind
Despite my mindless betrayal
And what now?


Would we survive?
Could we survive together?
Did I need to exit my cocoon and give up this dream, so that the cocoon might live on?


I rested in my cocoon
My spine, ribs, hips rattling
I- a fetal ball –
Fearing loss


I secretly prayed
Like a whisper from deep within whatever makes a person uniquely so


I was saturated with guilt, pain, sadness
But mostly fear
I prayed for healing
For the synnergy of a moment prior


If allowed
I would press to learn
To trust the cocoon’s love
It would make me stronger and us eternally fused
I could never again risk harm
To my warm, embracing home
That I loved


We waited- hoping, weeping
Silently and sadly loving